A woman living in rural Marlborough describes the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease as “like being in a pressure cooker, and the next minute being in a vacuum cleaner.”
But the symptoms of the neurodegenerative condition could be different for everyone, she said.
Caused by decreasing amounts of dopamine in the brain, Parkinson’s typically caused stiffness, shaking and soreness of movement.
Wairau Valley woman Kay Hannam has suffered from Parkinson’s disease since 2017, when a combination of symptoms and stress took her to the doctor.
“I remember driving home, and I was shaking at the wheel. I had never felt like that before,” she said.
“It just took all these little feelings, the vacuum cleaner feeling and the shaking, the lack of strength and the miscoordination, [which] finally took me to the doctor.
“I finally met with a specialist that confirmed that I did indeed have Parkinson’s.”
The condition affects approximately 1 in 500 people, with the average age of diagnosis 59.
When it came to Parkinson’s disease, Hannam said “exercise may not cure but it will stem the tide”.
She was involved in weekly fitness classes for people with Parkinson’s, designed “to keep your body fluid and keep your strength up.”
As the co-owner of Wai-natur Naturist Park, Hannam decided this year to open up about her condition and use her position in the naturist community to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease.
A ‘Tulip Cream Tea’, a function organised through Parkinson’s New Zealand, was put on at the Wai-natur Naturist Park last Saturday, with more than 30 attending for a day of tea, mini golf and swimming.
Original publication 30 October, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 7th November 2020
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